Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Randi Obenauer, owner of Ora Leather Goods, located in Powell River, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My two businesses are Ora Leather Goods, and Aro Upholstery. Ora is now in its 15th year. I've made just about 1800 leather bags by hand. Aro is my custom motorcycle seat niche, where folks ship their seats to me from all over the world to have them creatively upholstered. My education and career background include fine art, fashion design, textile arts, and trade certification in upholstery. Function and aesthetic are of equal importance to me in everything I design and handcraft.
Tell us about yourself
Ora grew from my upholstery skill set and supplies. Both sides of my business bring me so much joy in creating functional, useful objects for people to enjoy. Living in a beautiful region with so much ocean, river, forest, lake, backcountry exploring to do, makes me so happy. Raising my son here and having the flexibility of self-employment while creatively thriving make a very awesome lifestyle possible.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Owning a home as an independent female artist/entrepreneur is a huge accomplishment for me! I can't express enough gratitude for all the support over the years, I love what I do, and I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful region so close to the beach. I have personally handmade each Ora item, and I am about to reach my 1800th bag. That feels pretty incredible!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Pricing my work is definitely the hardest part of what I do. On the one hand, I love that I often forget there's money on the other side of what I create. First and foremost, I get such a high from making beautiful, functional objects and feel so honoured when people want them! There is no magic formula that fits all businesses, but I can say that learning to value my own work has been a big journey, it's so much more than just math.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Be extremely knowledgeable about your finances - hire a booker if necessary. Structure your pricing to cover your costs and make a profit, don't accidentally cultivate a labour of love. Make sure you never lose sight of what you love most about what you do - that is the part that should get the most energy.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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